At the age of nine, sophomore outfielder Kat Hylton began to play softball just as a leisure activity with friends. Ten years later, the competitiveness of the game sparked a passion for the sport. Hylton played at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, Calif. During the off-season, she joined traveling club teams because of their level of intensity, and for the opportunity to be recruited. “I like the winning aspect,” said Hylton. “I’m very competitive that way, and it kind of took over my life, in a sense, because I played for multiple teams at a time.” Hylton didn’t plan to attend George Fox University, but after receiving the South Central Scholarship and discovering the existence of their softball team, she decided to join. Kat is a double major in psychology and Spanish because she enjoys learning about how people think and their ways of doing things. Her future plan is to become a criminal behavior analyst. In her second season of NCAA college softball, Kat already notices individual and team growth. Though this year’s team is young, the Bruins began this season 6-0. They also defeated, and closed a 52-game losing streak, to defending conference champions, Linfield College. “Talent-wise we role really deep and chemistry wise it’s a lot better,” said Hylton. As of now, Hylton is working on the mental aspect of her game. Her goal is to be coachable and react more quickly on the field. “Your mindset changes, and the way you react kind of changes,” said Hylton. “You have to let everything else go, like all your school work and all your other work because all your focus is on the game, practice, or laughing like no other because you’re chilling with your team. It’s like you get sucked into this softball bubble the second you step on the field.” The Bruins are currently 19-9 overall and 8-8 in the Northwest Conference. During spring break, the team flew to Arizona and began an eight-game winning streak, which ended in loss against Whitworth. Their only focus is to reach the conference tournament and play their best without worrying about other teams.
March 20, 2014The Portland Trail Blazers started off the season better than expected, but then hit a shooting slump in January. Now the Blazers are scrambling to grasp a decent spot for the 2014 NBA playoffs. The Blazers ended their four-game losing streak after a win over the New Orleans Hornets, 111-103, on Friday. The win has them secured in fifth place for the Western Conference – for now. On Sunday, the Blazers fell short by one point to the Golden State Warriors, who are currently trailing behind Portland in sixth place. The Blazers were down two points with six seconds remaining and forward Nicolas Batum was at the line ready to shoot two free-throws that could have potentially tied the game. He made the first one, but his second shot bounced off the rim. It wasn’t over yet. Batum grabbed his own rebound with 3.5 seconds left, but his missed three-point attempt concluded the devastating loss, 113-112. Injuries have started to return for the Blazers. All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is currently out with a lower back contusion. He’s missed the last two games and he’s questionable for Thursday’s game against the Washington Wizards. Aldridge is averaging 23.4 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. His absence is noticeable, but the starters have been scoring in double digits for the past two games. Point-guard Mo Williams returned for Sunday’s game against the Warriors after a hip injury, and center Joel Freeland is not expected to return for the regular season due to a sprained MCL in his right knee. Although Portland does not want to talk about playoffs until they are officially in, they can’t deny it’s just around the corner. Only 15 games remain and the Blazers are currently 43-24. If the Blazers finish in the fifth seed they will posses home court advantage, but the team still has a chance to earn a better spot. “Luckily, we put ourselves in a good position to have a cushion,’’ Matthews said after the loss against the Houston Rockets. “But we can’t be content with that, and we are not content with it. We want to continue to get better because we are pushing for a seed. We still have time. We still have chance do that, to get better and grow. But these are the type of games we have to win to make it to the playoffs the way we want to make it in, and advance.’’ Portland fans are rooting for another playoff return. Their last appearance was in 2011, and they haven’t played past the first round since 2009, led by Brandon Roy. This year has felt different from previous years. Team chemistry is visible and they finally have a solid lineup and bench. They have shown they can hold their own against any team, but also quickly fall apart in the last five minutes of the game. The Blazers have surprised fans this season, and we only hope they do the same in the playoffs.
March 16, 2014A recent addition to the George Fox University community is the football and women’s lacrosse athletic trainer, Gregg Boughton. Having recently moved to Newberg from Cheyanne, Wyo., Boughton is enthusiastic about the potential opportunities a new town and job have to offer to him and his family of three. “The next six months will be a tough transition but it is all part of life,” he says. In preparation for a career in sports medicine, Boughton completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Wyoming and received his graduate degree at Boise State University. Since then Boughton has served in multiple athletic health care roles working in Nike’s world headquarters, physical therapy clinics, community colleges and rodeos nationwide, before finally assuming his position at GFU. “I have always been in positions where I was required to build things from the ground up,” says Boughton, “I have typically worked alone but am now excited about working together with the athletic training team here, at Fox.” Charged with the health care of athletes, Boughton fully expects to encounter his fair share of concussions, taped ankles and athletic injuries but hopes that his influence will spread beyond the walls of the training room as he builds relationships with student athletes. “I want students to feel comfortable talking to me about anything whether it be career aspirations, relationships, issues with playing time or problems at home. I have a lot of experience and want to help,” he says. Though Boughton has spent just a short time within the community, the welcome he has received from both students and faculty has served as a great encouragement in such a time of transition. “I appreciate everyone I have met, everyone who has introduced themselves or has shaken my hand,” says Boughton. “Thank you for the welcome.” Outside of his work, Boughton can be found spending time with his family, fly fishing and traveling as he nears his goal of visiting each of the 50 states. For students looking to welcome Boughton to campus or athletes seeking a formal introduction, Boughton can often be found at his desk in the Duke athletic complex. “My door is always open,” he says.
March 12, 2014Minnesota State Representative Mat Garofalo tweeted an offensive, and for some, racist statement Sunday night about athletes in the NBA. Garofalo’s tweet stated, “Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime” As the tweet spread, Garofalo’s words suggest the majority of NBA players are criminals. Racism comes into question because more than three-quarters of players are African-Americans. The Republican representative doesn’t seem to realize the outcome of his words. In an email to editor Kevin Draper of the Diss, an NBA analyzer/commentator, Garofalo stated: “Thanks for the email Kevin. I appreciate the chance to respond. I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate and that they are the only major pro league in which testing positive for marijuana is not a substance abuse violation. No intent beyond that. The culture among many pro athletes that they are above the law is the problem, not people pointing that problem out.” Once again, he doesn’t understand the facts. The league has serious consequences for any use of marijuana, including entering a marijuana rehabilitation program, a fine of $25,000, and a five-game suspension. The NBA is not holy. There are NBA players who are guilty of being involved in criminal activities, but not enough to categorize the whole NBA as criminals and thugs. In the beginning of the 2013 NBA season, New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith was suspended for five games after violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Smith tested positive for marijuana and it wasn’t his first suspension on record. But that’s just one person out of the 469 players in the NBA. There are more, but I don’t think it’s acceptable to stereotype all NBA players into one group – it’s discriminating and disrespectful. Garofalo released a statement Monday afternoon apologizing for his criticism and his misunderstanding of the NBA policy on substance abuse. A public figure, he needs to realize the damage his words can cause.
March 6, 2014Spring is coming our way, which means the George Fox University women’s tennis team is back to continue the 2013-14 season. In their first match, the Bruins swept Miles College 9-0 on Feb. 16. The women won three doubles and won four out of six matches in singles. On Feb. 21 the Bruins eked out a win against Lewis and Clark College in the Northwest Conference Opener, 5-4. Lewis and Clark stole the first two doubles, but the Bruins came back and won No. 3 by sophomores Megan Dahlberg and Ali Diehl defeating Allison Schneirder and Esa Grigsby 8-3. In the singles matches, the Bruins lost the first two, but came back to win four games straight. The women escaped another close loss versus Pacific University, 5-4, on Feb. 23; this marked their best start in team history with a three-game winning streak. The win came down to the No. 6 singles match by Diehl who won 6-1, 6-1. “My expectations for the team are that we push each other, but are also leaning on each other, and having fun,” said Diehl. “Tennis is draining not only physically, but also mentally, and I hope we can lean on each other during the hard times and always find something to smile or laugh about.” On March 1 regionally-ranked Whitman College ended the bruins three-game winning streak in a heart breaking loss, 9-0. The women are currently 3-2 in conference and will play Puget Sound on March 7. According to Head Coach Rick Cruz this team is young and inexperienced compared to previous years. Senior Alyssa Emoto is the only returner and the Bruins only have four players in the line-up with one year or less experience playing college tennis. “I am looking forward to challenging myself to play better every match despite having to face some pretty stiff competition at the No. 1 singles position,” said Emto. “This season will be a great opportunity for learning and growth for all of my teammates that they can carry into next year. I am also definitely looking forward to our spring break trip to Orlando. It’s always a great team bonding experience and of course the sunny weather doesn’t hurt either.” Though they’re young, Cruz hopes to pull some upsets during the season and reach the conference tournament. “The strength of this team is camaraderie of this group,” said Cruz. “I have a great group that works well with one another and roots each other on. A team that gets along off the court will lead to more success on the court.”
February 25, 2014Last week I wrote a column about NFL prospect Michael Sam, who recently announced he was gay during an ESPN interview. Some analysts believe his news could damage his chances of getting picked in the NFL draft, but before that momentous event, NBA center James Collins was the first professional athlete in a major American team sport to come out about his sexual orientation. Collins was a free agent during that time, but on Sunday he made history yet again. The Brooklyn Nets offered Collins a 10-day contract and tweeted out a picture of him signing on. Not only did he sign that same day, but he also checked in during the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Lakers. A round of applause was heard as he walked on the court of the Staple Center. Many supported him over Twitter, and Michael Sam directly Tweeted him, “Congratulations to my friend @jasoncollins34 – excited to see you do work out there #courage #groundbreaking” Collins hasn’t played professionally since April of last year with the Washington Wizards because he didn’t receive an invitation to training camp from any NBA teams. This didn’t discourage him from pursuing his passion. Collin continued to work out and is now is the first gay athlete to play the sport, and the world of sports continued on. He played a total of 11 minutes and had two rebounds. During the time of his contract the Nets will play a total of five games. The nets have been thinking about signing Collins for about a week since they were in need of a big body against the Lakers. According to an ESPN article, “The decision to sign Jason was a basketball decision,” said Nets general manager Billing King in a statement. “We needed to increase our depth inside, and with his experience and size, we felt he was the right choice for a 10-day contract.” I commend the Nets for looking beyond Collins’s sexual orientation, even if it’s just a 10-day contract. It’s an initial step for equal opportunity for future gay athletes. This decision brings hope that Michael may be chosen to play for an NFL team.
February 18, 2014National Football League prospect Michael Sam recently came out publicly that he’s gay during an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.” The All-American defensive end and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year is predicted to be picked in the third or fourth round of the NFL draft. Now, there are many question about whether this will affect his chances of entering the NFL. There is no doubt there will be obstacles upon his professional career, but his skills will quiet those who disagree with his life choice. “I’m not naïve,” said Sam in an interview with the New York Times. “I know this is a huge deal and I know how important this is. But my role as of right now is to train for the combine and play in the NFL.” Sam’s courageous decision to speak out will break barriers to the “manly man game.” Even if his news doesn’t change the outcome in his selection, his experience as a professional athlete will change the world of male dominated sports. According to Sports Illustrated, eight NFL coaches and executives who were interviewed anonymously gave their opinion on homosexuality. One personal assistant stated, “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s-man game. It’d chemically imbalance the NFL locker room and meeting room.” The idea that a gay man would “chemically imbalance” the team room is a harsh and ignorant statement, especially after the NFL took mild measurements for bullying in a locker room from one teammate to another. If I were an NFL coach, Sam’s talents and skills would be more significant than anything my team would “lose” because of his sexual orientation. The NFL has become a symbol and definition of “real men” in America, yet because of Sam’s life choice he is no longer a man, but an outsider. He has received immense support from teammates and fans. Even First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her support along with her husband President Obama. One response that caught my attention was by a Texas sports anchor Dale Hansen. Dale spoke about Sam’s announcement, and emphasized the fact that the NFL celebrates the performance of those that do more harm than good, for example players who are arrested for a DUI or caught in the act of using illegal substances. Regardless of his sexual orientations, Sam’s ability to perform at the combine and individual team workouts should be viewed equally compared to other players.
February 11, 2014The George Fox University indoor track and field team is setting national and school records as they prepare for the outdoor season. Sophomore Will Lawrence and junior Charity Arn set new George Fox records as the Bruins won eight events in the first meet at the Jackson Open and Multi-Events in Boise, Idaho on Dec. 13. Lawrence won the 800-meter run in 1:54.35, breaking the previous Bruin record of 1:55.34. Arn exceeded the previous record of 3,387 points in the pentathlon with a total of 3,407 points. Sophomore Maria Green placed third with 3,078 points. “My hope for this indoor track season is to make it to nationals and make it into the top eight,” said Green. “That would be awesome.” At the Ed Jacoby Invitational, Arn returned to post the third-best score in the nation to date in the NCAA Division III with 3,547 points in the women’s pentathlon. Green accumulated 3,335 points, which places her third on the George Fox top-ten all-time list, and fifth nationally. “Our team has been kicking off the indoor season with some big marks,” said Head Coach John Smith. “The early success shows the work that those athletes put in during the summer and came into the fall ready to make big strength and speed improvements.” In the men’s meet, senior Ezekiel Smith posted a George Fox record after finishing seventh in the heptathlon with 4,371 points. Freshman Ryan Braden placed second in the high jump at 6-2.75 / 1.90m and took eighth in the long jump at 21-5.5 / 6.54m. Senior Joseph Pia placed third in the in the 3,000 meter run with a time of 8:45.96. Arn currently ranks seventh in the history of the NCAA Division III for her record-setting score of 3,547 points. Arn was named Bruin Athlete of the Week for Jan. 27-Feb. 2 and received honorable mention for the National Women’s Athlete of the Week award by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. “To me, track is so much more than just numbers in a book,” said Arn. “So yes, it felt great to put up those numbers, but not necessarily because they are written in a record book. It felt great because I am doing what I love to do with the people I love to do it with. God has given me so many blessings within track and I am so thankful!” Smith believes Lawrence will have a good chance of qualifying for the national meet, and he expects Green and Arn to challenge for a top five spot in the NCAA podium. “By competing in indoor track, we not only are getting some big-time recognition for GFU, we are able to help our athletes achieve at a high level for the outdoor season,” said Smith.
February 4, 2014The Portland Trail Blazers have surpassed their previous 2012-13 record of 33-49, as they advance to 34-14 with a playoff run in sight. The Blazers came into this season with a new roster built around all-star power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. Aldridge elevates his teammates by making those around him play better. Both Aldridge and sophomore point guard Damian Lillard were selected for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game as reserves. Portland fans were disappointed since they believed Aldridge deserved a starting position. He didn’t receive enough fan votes, but the NBA coaches believed he deserved a spot. Though his teammates, specifically small forward Nicholas Batum, were upset, Aldridge maintained poise. In an interview with Blazeredge, Aldridge said, “I’ve kind of gotten used to those things happening. “Everybody around me was more upset than me,” he continued. “I came in tonight and [Nicolas Batum] was pretty fired up about it. My mom was pretty heated about it. Me, I was like, ‘OK, this is happening again.’ Aldridge is averaging 24.4 points per game and 11.6 rebound. ESPN Tom Pen ranked Aldridge as the No. 1 power forward in the NBA. He’s in the race for MVP at No. 3 behind Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Though the month of November and December was a striking surprise for most Portlanders and the NBA, the team hit a slump in January. The Blazers are known for depending too much on the three-point, and being absent on defense. In the first months of the season the Blazers shot a combined 40 percent from the three-point line. In January they combined 35 percent. The Blazers need to improve their defense and points in the paint if they want to be taken seriously as a playoff prospective. Portland went 8-6 in January and scored a season low of 81 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on Jan. 26, and lost 98-81. Before the month ended, the Blazers pushed for a much-needed win against the Toronto Raptors, 106-103. The win prevented the team’s first three-game losing streak of the season. The Blazers are third in the Western Conference trailing behind the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma Thunder. Up next, the Blazers have a four game road trip which ends this week against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Then the Blazers will meet at home against the Thunder on Feb. 11. The Seattle Seahawks and Trail Blazer owner Paul Allen just won his first world championship as an owner on Sunday as the Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl XLVIII. I wonder if his luck will roll over for the Blazers and bring an NBA world championship to Portland. One can only dream.
December 18, 2013When the George Fox Bruins football team straps on pads for the first time in forty years next fall, they’ll be the final school in NCAA Division III’s Northwest Conference to have a football program. Starting collegiate football programs has been popular recently and a trio of NCAA Division III schools had new teams this season. Here’s a look at how they did in their inaugural seasons: Berry College Vikings (0-9): Located in Mount Berry, Georgia, the private college has about 2,000 undergraduate students (George Fox has roughly 2,100). This marked football’s first year ever at the school. The Vikings failed to win a game and their closest contest was at Rhodes in a 36-24 defeat. They did beat LaGrange’s junior varsity squad 37-27 in an exhibition game. Hendrix College Warriors (3-7): Hendrix College is a private college with about 1,400 students located in Conway, Ark. They managed three victories, but it should be noted that two of them were against the two other schools on this list. Their other win was their opener, a 46-44 squeaker versus Westminster College (Mo.). This was the Warriors first foray into football since 1960. Southwestern University Pirates (0-10): With 1,300 students, Southwestern University is a liberal arts college located in Georgetown, Texas. Their closest loss was to Hendrix in a 48-29 defeat. This was the Pirates’ first season since 1950, an even longer hiatus than George Fox or Hendrix. Bonus: Pacific University Boxers (7-3): Pacific University, just 20 miles away in Forest Grove, also recently began football. The Boxers program began in 2010 after 19 years off the gridiron. The went 0-9 in each of their first two seasons in the Northwest Conference, but this past season was a success with a 7-3 record and 3-3 in conference. So while the Bruins may endure a few rocky seasons, there is hope on the horizon.
December 10, 2013Lauren Codling defeated the odds. She has overcome obstacles, but she accepts them willingly. Junior forward Codling has been playing basketball since first grade. After graduating from Sherwood High School in 2009, she went on to play at Mt. Hood Community College. Due to her pregnancy, she took a year off from basketball and studied full time at Chemeketa Community College. In December of 2010 Codling gave birth to her son, Cooper. She never expected to play basketball again, but her convictions changed when Chemeketa’s head coach, Jesse Ailstock, noticed her name on a class list during her pregnancy. The coach dug up some background information and contacted her in April to ask gauge her interest – did Codling want to play basketball again? Codling was unsure. Being a mom was new, and she didn’t want to leave Cooper for extended periods of time. But she decided to give it a shot – and fell back in love with the game. “Before I got pregnant, basketball was everything,” said Codling. “I weighed basketball heavier than anything else, but after having my son he was my first priority and my biggest love.” After a year at Chemeketa, she transferred to play for the George Fox University women’s team. It was a last minute decision, but a good one, she said. George Fox felt close to home, and the good academics and basketball program persuaded her to come. Her expectations for the team this season are to be successful and to play at her full potential. “Ultimately we want to win league, go on to the national tournament, and win the national championship,” said Codling. “I want to work my hardest no matter what the circumstances are, whether I’m playing good or bad. Just to keep my mental game and physical game at a steady balance.” Codling enjoys the family-like atmosphere and the encouragement around her. “The support I have from the coaches and my teammates is amazing and I haven’t had that anywhere else,” said Codling. “It’s helped a ton.” The most challenging part has been balancing basketball, school, and taking care of her son. She’s away at school and practice all day, and doesn’t see him until late in the evening. “It’s hard for him to adjust from me being more of a stay-at-home mom to him having to go to day care and preschool. It’s challenging,” said Codling. Being part of the sports team has helped her feel like part of the community, more connected. She’s been able to get her name out there and meet people through her teammates. Codling is majoring in Fitness Management with a minor in Health. After graduating, she hopes to work part time as a health teacher or personal trainer and be a part-time stay-at-home mom.